"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, March 23, 2017



Scott and I returned to our room and were pretty speechless.  We commented on how our birth mother truly loved this child, and maybe it would have been easier if she would have not cared.  All of the stereotypical images we had up until that point about birth mothers placing their children for adoption were tossed out the window.  This was a woman who was clearly making, as she stated, "the most unselfish decision of her life".  She loved this baby with all of her being, and because of the power of this love, she wanted to offer him so much more.   What did she want in return from us?  The easiest thing in the world for us to give her.  The assurance that this baby will always be treasured and that we would someday share with him that she did this out of love. 

The rest of the afternoon we enjoyed our beautiful son.  We were emotionally exhausted.  We took turns holding him for hours on end without once laying him down, with the exception of diaper changing time, which even that, we marveled at.  :)    Around 3:15 p.m., Scott left the hospital to pick up Amanda at school and bring her to meet her baby brother.  I then stayed alone with him.   As I held him, it brought back wonderful memories of being in the hospital with my own biological children.  When first asked by our bm to stay in the hospital the 3 days, Scott and I both thought that would be quite strange, especially knowing we would only be a few steps away from each other.  Yet, she planned everything out so perfectly, with God's hand in it, of course.  I digress.

I held him tightly and even surprised myself at my feelings for this little creature.  I knew without a doubt that I would love him, but what I did not know was how fierce that Motherly love would be....and so soon.  Before leaving the BM's room, we had said our goodbyes to the family. Her biological mother and grandmother were not in there.   Our BM asked if we could return in the evening so they could say their goodbyes.  We, of course, agreed.  As the hours passed by, the thoughts of having to return to the room started making me anxious again.  Maybe her seeing the baby and holding him again would stir up feelings of uncertainty in her.  I know that every moment that I spent with him was another milestone in our bonding.   After feeding he lay content in my arms, eyes wide open, as I gently whispered to him what a miracle he was.  My less-than-a-day old child lay there, listening to me praise and worship our God for this gift.  I nuzzled with him, smelling the "newness" of his skin.  I was so very tired, but could not bring myself to put him in the bassinet.  We had waited so long and I didn't want one second of our time together to be wasted.

Amanda arrived shortly after 5 pm, bearing McDonald's!   I was famished.  It was the best Quarter Pounder with cheese I had ever had!  We took turns eating while AJ slept nestled in one of our sets of arms.   The glow in Amanda's eyes was one of the most heart-warming moments in my life.  She instantly fell in love with her little brother.  How could she not?  He was perfect.  After dinner, Scott went to the room to see if the family was back so we could say our goodbyes.  It took 3 attempts until they were finally there.   We gathered ourselves together.  Placed AJ in his bassinet and once again, wheeled across the hall to the now familiar birthing suite.   After knocking, we enter and there is his bm, looking as emotionally drained as I felt, and her Mom and grandmother sat on the couch.   She greeted us with her beautiful smile, as we walked in.  I introduced Amanda to everyone and then took AJ out of the bassinet and handed him over to her.  I was taken back a bit when she asked if she could remove his little knit cap to see his hair.  She was asking me?   This was her child.   She had the scars both on her abdomen and in her heart to prove it...yet, she was asking me?  God kept showing me the same humility and humbleness that he came into this world with, through this woman's eyes.  She removed his cap, and kissed his head, with the tears once again streaming down her cheeks.  She softly whispered to him how much she loved him and I could see her doing the same exact thing I had done once I had him in the room alone.  How she would deeply breathe in that scent of innocence that babies have. All this while Mom and Grandmother watched intently while making small talk with us.  The bm then looked over at her anxious Mom and asked, "Do you want to carry him?"  She, once again, jumped at the chance.  Another humbling moment.   Here is a woman,  holding her grandchild, her flesh and blood, and yet, obediently accepting God's will.  The grandmother said that she could not bear to hold him, but assured us that God had bathed her in His peace about this process and the decision that was being made.  Again, all we had to offer were promises.   After about 15 minutes of chatting and baby nuzzling, we prepared to return to our room.   This was it.....this was the last time we were to meet with the family, until the BM asked, "Can you please bring him by again tomorrow?" I kept feeling Satan creeping in.  It was a battle between trying to be understanding and humble, yet the feelings of possessiveness would not subside.  He was mine! I didn't want any more bonding to occur.  I didn't want to take any chances, give any possibility of that love increasing even more.

We said our goodbyes again and headed to our room now as a family of four.  Scott and Amanda headed home at around 9 pm.  And again, I was alone with our new son,  and of course, my haunting thoughts.  The night shift nurse came in to introduce herself at about 8 pm and make sure that all was well.   

It was, except that my imagination had overpowered reality.  I held it in and made it through the night.

The next morning, I arose to the small whimpers of a tiny baby.  Scott called shortly afterwards and said he was on his way with Amanda, before school started, and was bringing breakfast.   He arrived shortly afterwards and while we sat enjoying breakfast, AJ's doctor came in.   After doing a thorough check, he said, "He's perfect!"  HA!  Like I needed a doctor to tell me that.  :)   We spent some more time as a family.  I kissed Scott and Amanda goodbye.  Off they went to the routine of their every day life, with the exception that now they were doing it as a new Father and a big sister.  How proud I was feeling!

The hospital social worker handling our case came in to check on me, this time I was in the midst of a meltdown.  Amongst  a sea of tears, I asked the nurse how the birth mom was doing.  She said, "About the same as you.  She had a very difficult night."  I bluntly asked, "Do you think she is going to go through with this?"   She explain to me that this is part of the process.  Normal would be for her not to grieve.  I understood, I really did.  Part of me wanted so badly to tell her I'm sorry....to tell her that I wish that there were two babies.  That there was someway we could do this without pain.   I knew there wasn't.  The social worker responded that she felt that it would go through, but that I need to remain aware that she COULD change her mind.  Oh my gosh!  What did that mean?  Did that mean she was changing her mind?  Did that mean she was having second thoughts?  But just last night she was telling us how happy and at peace she was with her decision.  The mind games continued long after the social worker left the room.

All I could think of was the commitment I had made the previous night by saying, "Of course we'll bring him by tomorrow."  It was not even noon.  If there was a way for me to have taken my baby and run, I would have.  I didn't want to put him down.  I had visions of them coming in and saying, "She's changed her mind.  He has to be returned."  I wouldn't allow it.  I was planning and scheming in my brain how I could keep him.  My thoughts were taking me as high as the Supreme Court. Yet, again, not for one instance, did anyone say anything affirming the fact that she had changed her mind.   I finally call Scott, who was at work, and crying I say...."I think she's changing her mind."  I told him what had transpired in  my conversation with the social worker.   He said to me, "I don't understand.  Your saying she had a rough night?  Right?  She didn't say she was changing her mind.  Why do you go there?"   I said, "Scott, she wants to see the baby again!  How can you sign on the dotted line after holding him?"  I knew that I was too weak a person to ever accomplish such a feat.  Whether or not I knew in my heart it was the best thing for my child, I knew I could never do it.  I'd be selfish.  I'd hold him back from whatever the world had to offer, including a Christian home with a family that would adore him and offer him everything they possibly could....but I could not sign on that piece of paper.  I would only think of me and my feelings.  Scott then said to wait until he arrived in the afternoon and we would go in as a family again.  That she would see how much in love we are with him and it would reconfirm her decision.   My brain just couldn't think of a way to impress upon her our love for him.  It was only words.  There was nothing I could do to prove to her, to give her a glimpse into his future, that would show our love and devotion.  She had nothing to go on, but our word.

The afternoon seemed to last forever.  Finally at 4:45, I call Scott and ask him where he was.  He said he had just picked up Amanda and was on his way.   The ride to the hospital was a short 20-25 minutes.  The BM had asked the nurse if we were planning on taking the baby in to see her.  I knew she was just as anxious to see him as we were for her not to bond, or shall I say "I" was.   I told the nurse to please tell her we'd be there shortly.  At 5:30,  45 minutes later, I call Scott, he said he was down the street from the house! I said, "WHAT???  How?  Why?"   He told me it was raining and that traffic was horrible. At this rate, it would take him 2 hours to get to the hospital.  I was besides myself.  I was angry at him.  How could he do this?   She was waiting!  Again, I just wanted to get it over with.  If she was going to hold him and change her mind, then let's just do it!  Again, I was a point that I couldn't go on any further.   I called my friend again and requested prayers.  That's all I had.  Then, I called Scott back and said, "Forget it, I'm going alone!!"

Well, God in his infinite wisdom, had His plan laid out.  I was supposed to go in that room with the baby alone.  It was not supposed to be "small talk".  He knew my heart needed closure,  as much as hers did.   He once again, even after my showing the flaws of weakness in my faith, showed me His grace and unconditional love.  He held me as I walked towards that door, heart pounding and I knocked.  The familiar, "Come In" was heard and I wheeled in the bassinet.  She smiled that beautiful smile again, almost in disbelief that I was there.  Her eyes showed the same puffiness mine did.  The results of hours of crying.  I apologized for being there so late and said that I was waiting for Amanda and Scott to arrive, but that "for some un-Godly reason" they've been in traffic for over an hour.   A bit of small talk was made and I handed her the baby.   Again, she softly whispered to him and kissed him what seemed to be to be 1000 time to me. 

This time, something was different.  I could feel myself relaxing.  Feeling that unexplained peace.  I knew He was there.  I felt the presence of the Holy Family in the room.  I silently prayed to our Blessed Mother to remain with us.   It was no coincidence that the conversation suddenly turned to God.  We began sharing about AJ's story.  First, the BM's side.  How she came to know about us.  Her thoughts and feelings.   I cried as she poured out her heart.  Then I shared our side, and his story about how we prayed on the way to meeting her the first time.  How God had affirmed to Scott that this was to be our son.   Her Mom then interceded by saying, "I came here with thoughts that I was going to hate you guys.  I wanted to hate you guys.  You never gave me a chance.  It's impossible!  This was meant to be."   Then, as everyone wiped tears from their eyes, our birth Mom said, "I have a gift for AJ.  I hope you like it."   She handed me a beautiful little velvet box.  My hands trembled.  I thought it would probably be a pendant with her picture or something similar.   I slowly opened it, and was in disbelief at what I saw.   An affirmation that our Blessed Mother was present, along with St. Joseph and of course, her most loving son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.   It was the most beautiful rosary I have ever seen in my life!   At that point, I fell apart.  This was a girl who really did not have a lot of religion in her life, although her Grandmother was very Christian, and most of all, she was not Catholic.  I don't think she could have understood how profound the meaning of this gift was at that very second.  I went over to bed and cried.  We cried together.  She laughed and said thru tears, "You like it?"  I said, "Oh my gosh, had you given me a Mercedes SL-500, I would not have liked it more!  AJ will proudly carry this rosary on the day of his first Holy Communion and he will know it came filled with immense love from you and your family!"  Less than two minutes later, in walked Scott.   THAT WAS GOD!!!!!  He knew I needed to know I wasn't alone.  He knew my faith was not strong and I needed affirmations. I needed "signs".  He knew that with Scott present, the mother-to-mother talk would never have occurred.  Yet, once again, He picked me up and told me ALL WILL BE WELL.   

We remained in the room for another 1/2 hour as we laughed and shared in the of the birth of this precious gift.  It was like sitting with family.  She felt like a sister and her Mom and Grandmother could have easily replaced mine.  At that moment, I felt I had not only been blessed by receiving AJ, I had been blessed by knowing this incredible family.  God had opened my heart and filled it with love and peace.  He reminded me (which I so often need) that he was in control.  That He was present, and I could see Him in everyone's eyes in that room.   That night will be one I will never forget and it just made the entire story He created for us even more special.  His fingerprints were all over each and every one of us.   This time, we hugged  and I was the one who offered to stop by and say our final goodbyes the following day after the consents were signed.  Then we, once again, carefully pushed the creaking-wheeled bassinet back to the stark, bare room.  This time filled with nothing but joy and peace.  Entering the room felt like it was filled with beautiful flowers.

Tomorrow would be the first day of the rest of our lives with AJ as our son.

DAY 3 - The day that lead to forever ours.

The next morning, our attorney called bright and early.  He said all was going as planned.  He would be arriving with his witness, with the stenographer that was going to make record of the final signing and would be getting the documentation signed by the doctor that our BM was free to sign any all papers.  The state of Florida requires that any woman that has been under the influence of any medication that may distort their thinking, in our case pain meds because of the c-section, be completely clear of it before signing any legal documents.

We were so close to the end, meaning she was signing off on her termination of parental rights and agreeing to place her child for adoption.

Scott had taken that morning off of work.  We sat, mostly in silence, in our bare room, holding our sweet baby for most of the morning.   Around 12:00 p.m., our attorney came into the room stating that the doctor had signed off.  He had spoken to the birth mom and she was in full agreement to proceed with her termination of rights.  He warned us that her heart was broken.  I knew this.  I knew this with everything inside me.  Again, her strength left me in awe.  I could not have done it. I was too selfish.   He said the choice was ours of whether or not we wanted to say a final goodbye.  She wanted to. We knew it was the right thing to do.  He left the room.

At about 1 p.m., he came back and told us the paperwork was all signed and we were ready to leave the hospital as a forever family.  But, there was that last goodbye still pending.  We had gathered our belongings, dressed AJ and wrapped him snuggly in a receiving blanket and walked one last time across the hall.

She, too, was dressed and ready to begin a new life.  This time, without a child, to carry.  Her Mom was by her side.   Scott and I walked in and we immediately could tell by the swollen eyes she had a lot of time crying.   I said nothing, but with tears in my eyes, walked up to her and handed her the small bundle.  We took a few steps back and let them have some time together, while we made small talk with the lawyer.   She, once again, kissed AJ what seemed like a million times.  Her Mom also carried him, but you could tell she did not want to get too attached.  My heart ached for both of them.  I had been so wrong.  That was the true love of a mother I was witnessing.  Through her pain, she offered her child the best life she knew how at the time.  She offered him a full life.   We made some small talk and then I looked her in the eyes and promised her that we would always treasure him and love him, not as if he were 'our own', because he was our own.  There was no difference between this baby and our biological children.  We assured her our children were just that, our children.

Many tears were shed by everyone.  I think I even saw a small tear in the eyes of our attorney.  We hugged one last, tight hug, and turned and walked out of the room.  We were two mothers who shared a special bond.  She gave him his life, and I get to share that life with him.   But, we not only left the hospital that day with one of the most amazing gifts we ever received, we left with an eye-opening experience and a lesson learned that will forever be engraved in our hearts.

And to think, we could have missed this.  

Fast forward 11 year years. 
Happy 11th birthday, sweet boy!   You are a treasure and a huge gift from above for us.  We love you as much as the whole wide world, and back again. 

Our youngest. Our baby.  Our 'bowl of sugar'. 


Cheri said...

Amazing how much he looks like your husband....Do you keep in touch with his birth mother?

It's so hard to believe it's been over 10 years since we were LID together with Harrah's. But...you were blessed with Kai a few months before our referrals and we never got to meet. I love seeing updates now and then.

Ohilda said...

He does look a lot like his Dad. And yes, we just celebrated Kai's 11th Forever Family Day. Time has flown. 😣

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